Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Janelle Marshall, Founder of Marshall Gray Counseling Services, located in Houston, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm a Licensed Professional Counselor that provides psychotherapy, psychosocial assessments, and immigration evaluations. My specialties are anger management, stress management, and communication skill building, and I see adults and children ages ten and up. In addition to therapy, I also provide life coaching for individuals looking to incorporate practical elements of self-care into their daily lives.
Tell us about yourself
My interest in becoming a therapist began during my undergraduate studies at Baylor University (Sic Em!). One of my elective Psychology courses included a play therapy practicum with one of the local preschools in Waco, and I fell in love with the therapeutic experience and the ability to positively impact someone's life in such a short amount of time.
In December 2013, two months after my first daughter was born, I began my journey as a solo private practice therapist because I knew I wanted the flexibility of adjusting my schedule to her extracurricular activities as she grew older. Through the years, I've committed to my vision by chaperoning field trips and becoming a dance mom while maintaining a full-time caseload of 25-30 hours per week. As cliche as it may sound, my two daughters truly motivate me daily because they remind me that I'm doing exactly what I said I would do.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Referrals are my biggest accomplishment as a business owner. As a black woman and a daughter of immigrants, I'm aware of the (steep!) uphill climb regarding normalizing mental health in minority communities, so it's truly an honor every time a new client tells me they were personally referred to me by their friend, coworker, etc.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is the inability to pause your personal life. Mental health is an industry that requires you to be fully present in your work, and if you're not disciplined in balancing your professional and personal lives, it can get hectic.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Identify your passion. Not what makes money, but what you enjoy or truly have an interest in doing.
- Visualize what your business would look like and how it would operate, down to the aesthetics and the details. Don't get distracted by the "how"s and "when"s.
- Just start. Don't wait for the perfect branding, the perfect website, or the perfect headshots. Work with what you have until you have more to do.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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